Birthday cake for two

Birthday cake for two

I love a good birthday cake. I just don’t need to eat an entire sheet tray of it because frankly there are many other things I want to eat too. This small-batch birthday cake is perfect for one to two people and it’s so easy to make that you can repurpose it into other flavors for any other special occasion. 

Jareen holding a small birthday cake the size of a head

What are the benefits of small batch recipes?

I’ve been increasingly interested in creating small-batch recipes because I have a small family and I don’t like wasting food. The benefit of creating small batches of food is that you are more likely to finish eating everything and less likely to throw things away. Certain foods, like leftover cake, are delicious one of two days after baking, but over time they can get stale. If you want your food to stay fresh, I recommend creating smaller portions to ensure you’re eating everything you cook. 

What’s the difference between cake flour and all-purpose flour?

There’s a flour for everything these days, and I think that’s a good thing because people are able to customize recipes to their liking. For this recipe, I use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour, but if you don't have cake flour, you'll be fine to use all-purpose. For a more tender cake, I like to use cake flour. The main difference between cake flour and all-purpose flour is the protein content. Overall, cake flour has less protein than all-purpose, which means your cake is less likely to be rubbery or dense or chewy if you over mix it. That's because cake flour makes less gluten when you work with it. A gluten-less cake will give you a lighter dessert with a more delicate crumb.

Recipe: Vanilla birthday cake for two 

Vanilla birthday cake for two with sprinkles

Yields: 2 to 4 servings 

Cook time: Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 40 minutes | Inactive time: 3 hours  | Total time: 4 hours


Cake batter

  • 6 tablespoons of softened butter (you can use salted or unsalted)
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla 
  • 1 cup of cake flour (can use all-purpose)
  • ¼ teaspoon of baking soda 
  • ⅓ cup of Greek yogurt (can swap for buttermilk) 
  • ¼ teaspoon of fine salt (if you’re using unsalted butter)


  • 1 stick of softened butter 
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon of milk 
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla 
  • Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter) 

Overhead birthday cake

Cooking instructions

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. Mix melted butter, sugar, room temperature egg, and a tablespoon of vanilla together in a bowl.

Wet ingredients for cake batter

3. Once everything is well mixed, add in your Greek yogurt. Whip everything together until it is well combined. 

Combined wet ingredients

4. Sift your cake flour and baking powder into the wet batter.

Dry ingredients added to wet batter

5. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet batter. Remember to not over mix otherwise the cake will be dense after you are finished baking.

Mixed batter being held up to the camera with a spoon

6. I use a 6 inch pan to bake this cake. I line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and then I spray the pan with baking spray. 

6 inch baking pan

7. If you don’t have baking spray you can coat the pan with butter and flour too. This will ensure the cake comes out seamlessly. 

Cake batter inside of baking pan

8. Add your cake batter to the pan. Smooth the top of the batter with a spoon. I like to tap the pan against my countertop to help the batter settle into the pan and to remove any bubbles in the batter.

Cake batter smoothed in pan

9. Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes on the medium rack. I advise checking how the cake is doing at 35 minutes. The top should be a pale golden color. Stick a toothpick in the center of the cake and check whether the cake is fully baked. The toothpick should come out clean. 

Baked cake

10. Once the cake is fully baked, remove from oven and place the cake on a wire rack and let it cool down completely. 

Bake cooling on wire rack

11. When the cake is cool to the touch wrap it tightly in cling wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Chilling the cake is an important step because it makes frosting the cake a lot easier later, don’t skip this! 

Wrap cooled cake in cling wrap

12. While the cake is chilling, let’s make the buttercream frosting. Add room temperature butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt (if using unsalted butter), and a dash of milk (preferably whole milk or heavy cream, but I’ve even make this frosting with 2% reduced fat milk and it turned out fine) to a bowl.

Buttercream ingredients

13. I like to lightly mix everything with a spoon before I use my hand mixer so avoid the powdered sugar exploding into the air, but if you don’t care about that, then use a hand mixer or stand mixer and whip up your frosting. When you make the frosting, it might not seem like enough, but it is. This is a small batch cake, so I also tailored the frosting recipe to be adequate for the cake size.

Buttercream ingredients whipped up

14. After the cake has chilled, I use a serrated knife and trim off a little bit of excessive bake from the top to make sure it is even before I frost it. 

15. I don’t have a cake frosting pedestal, so I invert a large bowl and add a bit of frosting to the base and then stick my bare cake on top of it. Then I just smooth the frosting over the cake. If you want to be fancy, you can add a crumb coat first and them put the cake in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before giving the cake its final coat of frosting and decorations. 

Frosting the cooled cake

I like to add sprinkles to give the cake its birthday identity. I recommend letting the cake rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving so everything is firmed up.

Mini cake frosted with icing

You can also stick this in the refrigerator and serve it up later, just make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving. 

Decorated cake with frosting and sprinkles

You can feed two to four people with this cake, depending on how hungry everyone is, or you can eat it all yourself. It will last in the refrigerator for 4 days or you can freeze it for up to 3 months. 

Enjoy, have fun, and if you tried this recipe, let me know in the comments!  

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